County Durham couple given decade-long ban from owning pets after neglecting six dogs

Credit RSPCA
The RSPCA found the pets starving, thirsty and in need of vet treatment. Credit: RSPCA

A County Durham couple have been banned from keeping pets for a decade and fined after being convicted of neglecting six dogs.

Neil and Elaine Hamilton of Front Street, Pity Me, had a prosecution brought against them by the animal charity RSPCA, after it found the animals in a neglected state last October.

In a witness statement, RSPCA inspector Lucy Green said she found three of the dogs, Beau, Bella and Megan, in a "suffering state."

The others were said to be likely to "be caused to suffer if their circumstances did not change".

In January 2023, the 57-year-old and 41-year-old admitted the offences under the Animal Welfare Act. It was in relation to their care of their six pets named Ozzy, Oscar, Megan, Beau, Lexi and Bella.

Since being rescued by the RSPCA, the dogs have become much healthier. Credit: RSPCA

The couple were sentenced at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court on 22 February. Their ban on owning animals is to last a decade, and they were handed a fine of almost £1,000.

When the dogs were found, one of them, Beau, was suffering from a gastrointestinal disease as he had diarrhoea.

He was half the weight he should have been. On a score of one to nine, with one being the worst, the vet gave his body condition a one.

Another, Ozzy, suffered a leg fracture after being hit by a car, however, Elaine took him to a cat-only clinic. She then failed to get him any other further treatment.

One of their other dogs, Bella, had a fever and Megan had overgrown nails, severe dental disease and was malnourished.

According to the RSPCA, none of the dogs had been given adequate nutrition, fresh clean drinking water or vet treatment as required.

The court heard how the couple had a lack of money as part of their mitigation.

Following the sentencing hearing, Inspector Green said: "All of Mr and Mrs Hamilton's dogs were underweight ranging from lean to, as stated by the vet, emaciation. Reasonable owners should have noticed this and taken the dogs to a vet to address the issues."Our plea to all animal owners is to make sure they always receive care and treatment from veterinary experts when they need it.

"If people are struggling to cover the costs, there are a number of charities which provide help for veterinary care for pet owners in genuine financial difficulties.

"People can also work with their vet to spread the cost of treatment."

Neil was fined £300, and must pay £75 costs and a £120 victim surcharge. Elaine was fined £125 and told to pay £175 costs and £48 victim surcharge.

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